Boston travel tip: Don't book a flight into Logan that gets in late on a holiday

Long Logan cab line

A disgruntled Aaron Rosenberg shows us a cab line at Logan at 12:45 this morning.

"Glad we banned uber...thanks," he writes. Logan has banned UberX and Uber Pool, unless the drivers register their cars as livery.

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It does

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Assuming these people didn't all just walk out the door at 12:44, they could have likely taken the T. The last blue line train on Sundays leaves Orient Heights at 12:31, passing Airport station at about 12:45. The last SL1 leaves airport terminal A at 12:45, then passes through the other terminals. These people probably had at least one SL1 pass them while they waited for cabs.

One more red line train in each direction will pass through South Station after 1:00, so you can get even closer to many destinations.

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Guess again

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The 12:45 SL bus gets you to South Station after 1. You have to be two buses earlier to have any chance of making the last northbound train to get to east-west at Park, so unless you're transferring to the Red Line southbound, you're SOL. The latest you can get on an SL bus to get on an SL bus at Terminal A and have a chance of making a useful transit connection downtown is 12:15. As for the shuttle to the Blue Line, if the last train inbound is 12:31, you have to get on a shuttle at Terminal A by, you guessed it, 12:15. (I've been on these buses, and hoping you make the last train at South Station is not terribly fun, neither is then waiting at Park way too long for east-west because the T can't write a fucking schedule (although they did fix this, after steadfastly denying it was any sort of issue).

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The last Silver Line bus can hustle when they need to

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I caught either the last or second-to-last inbound Silver Lines from the airport once.

Once we finished loading up on passengers at Terminal E the operator shouted to see if anyone was going anywhere other than South Station. Since we were all heading there she skipped the painful Seaport routing and tunnel and went straight to South Station via Summer Street, where most of the passengers were then able to make it onto the last Red Line of the day.

Hopefully this is routine.

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This is a question of

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This is a question of ignorance - but isn't it possible (though very unlikely) that there were other inbound passengers down the line who also hoped to wash up at South Station, either for a connection, or simply because that's where they needed to be?

Either way, this isn't a reliable method and I'd never advise someone to use this method unless they were desperate. Too many variables and moving parts to ever rely on. Even if it was routine, what happens if you rely on it and there's a sub driver for 2 weeks, or a new driver who absolutely can't/won't bend any rules?

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I once took the Silver Line

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I once took the Silver Line on a night when the Ted was closed for construction.

It normally would NOT have been a close call catching the Red Line. But because of the detour through the Sumner and on local streets, it was. We went within a block of South Station, but nobody was allowed off the bus until we drove all the way through the Seaport on surface streets to head back into the Transitway.

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Holiday

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Did you notice the word HOLIDAY?

No?

Go back and try that "but the last bus is at blah blah fart blah" again.

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Really?

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Do you think Uber would make a difference? Have you been to Logan lately?

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Travel Tip

If you book a flight into Logan that gets in late on a holiday, prebook your return transportation. You can book a limo service ahead of time.

Or, like our neighbor, offer up some cash to your neighbor to come get you.

I wouldn't blame banning Uber for this anyway - this was just as much of a problem in 1985 and for the same reason: no public transit.

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Sharing

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Q: How many of the people in line are single travelers, heading to places like Back Bay, Somerville, Alston.

A:. Many of them.

Taxis should ABSOLUTELY be shared. And public transit, even if it's busses, should be running. Our policies are archaic.

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So can taxis

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When queues are significant, taxis can dispatch multiple people going to different destinations in roughly the same direction in the same auto. For passengers A, B, and C (though typically just A and B):

BOS to dest(A): pay the meter as is. You went home first, so you pay the same as if you would have before.
dest(A) to dest(B): pay the remainder. I don't know if they just reset the meter or calculate the difference. I think this is kosher even if dest(A) isn't in Boston proper, even though this is kind of like a taxi picking someone up out-of-town.

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Uber Automates And Optimizes Sharing Far Better Than Taxis Can

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Unless the passengers are all going to the same place (e.g.: airport to convention center), it seems nearly impossible for a manual taxi dispatcher to efficiently match up riders. With Uber and Lyft, passengers supply their destination information to the system, so it can automatically assemble groups of riders, and chart the most practical route for everyone involved.

In your scenario with taxis, passenger A is paying the full fare, and the other passengers would have trouble knowing whether they're being overcharged. With Uber and Lyft, the price is lower when you opt to share a car with other people, and it's calculated automatically and fairly for all passengers, so everyone knows in advance exactly how much the ride will cost.

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It's been done for decades

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it seems nearly impossible for a manual taxi dispatcher to efficiently match up riders.

Remember, this is for airports -- a big queue with lots of folks going to the same place. Works like this:
Dispatcher at queue yells "Hey! Anyone going to Copley! Who's going to Copley -- Fairmont Copley! Comply Square Hotel! Boston Marriott Copley! How about near the Public Gardens -- Four Seasons! Boston Park Plaza! Courtyard Downtown!" Somebody or somebodies scurry forward and load up. Then the next passenger: "Who's going to Harvard Square! Harvard Square! How about Central Square? Kendall Square!" He gets a few more. "I've got Newton. Who's going to Newton! How about Wellesley? Chestnut Hill?"

It isn't perfect, but it does help bang down the queues.

As for the passenger knowing how much to be charged, (a) the dispatcher often reminds passengers how this works, and (b) it's on a sticker visible in the back seat of the taxi.

I'm not arguing that Uber/Lyft don't also do it, or that the taxi system is better. I'm simply pointing out that it exists, has existed for decades, and does in fact function.

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http://www.cityofboston.gov

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http://www.cityofboston.gov/tridionimages/rules_tcm1-3045.pdf says the fare in this situation is the meter minus $2 at each destination.

If I'm interpreting this poorly-written regulation correctly (and it's still up to date), if the meter says $30 at the first stop and $35 at the second stop, the first exiting passenger pays $28 and the second pays $33 (plus tolls somehow).

Which is rather ridiculous. If you form your own taxi carpool (as I've done while waiting on line), all that's owed is the meter at the last stop, and the passengers can split the cost however they like.

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If you're already going and

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If you're already going and playing daddy warbucks, you might as well call an uber black, which IS allowed to pick up at the airport. It's just significantly more expensive than even the rip-off cabs.

People saying to share a cab have never been a smallish female traveling alone and exhausted.

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There is no single solution

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People saying to share a cab have never been a smallish female traveling alone and exhausted.

Nor are they Canadian indigenous peoples for whom sharing a cab is remarkably impractical because the odds of another Canadian indigenous person being at Logan looking for a cab to the same place is remarkably small.

Nobody is suggesting that the share-a-cab technique works perfectly for all passengers. If it works for 1-in-5 it serves to considerably reduce the queue length.

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If you take the shuttle to

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If you take the shuttle to the new rental car center you can order a lyft or uber from there. Ive also picked up lyft our uber from the other side of the airport station, across the park, but they might not drop you off at the t stop after hours.

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A serious question

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What would the turnaround time be waiting for a cab at this point?

I was at Logan one evening a few months back. The line was long, but we got a cab in good time. As others said, if this was a case of T users going for cabs, the line would be longer, but if the cab pool was adequate, all will get home. Of course, if there weren't enough cabs, those people would be screwed.

(note, I edited 2 of what can best be called spelling errors. Thanks for the answer Swirls)

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It can take hours

I have picked up my neighbor at 1am when he abandoned the cab line after moving 1/3 of it in an hour.

Massport was putting out the all-cabs alerts to try to get more cabs to come to the airport, but it didn't seem to be working (competing with the fares in downtown). But, even if they got more cabs out there, it would still take hours to clear the line.

The problem is that there are rarely enough cabs willing to drive to the airport if it is at a time when the cabs can be doing more lucrative things. There are surcharges, a cab pool wait, and likely travel outside of Boston where they can't get return fares.

This isn't "the Logan Cab Line" - there are cab stands at each of the terminals.

Massport needs to reduce the take at times when the MBTA is not running. That would help a lot.

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Surcharges!

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Massport charges each cab a fee for being in the taxi pool.

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I hopped on an SL1

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at 6:05 am today from Courthouse Station to South Station, and it was jammed packed (probably the first bus of the day). I could not get on the bus from the two rear doors and had to enter from the front. Running a Sunday schedule probably didn't help.

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By the time you realize that

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By the time you realize that walking is a good idea you have already descend into the bowels of the Courthouse station.

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Proof we're not a real city

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That is ridiculous. I came into Boston on an international flight on Wed. night - a busy time just 3 days after Christmas. The International Arrivals hall was an absolute shitshow. It was unbearably hot and airless and so crowded that you could not see which line (blue or red) you were supposed to be aiming for. Then the new passport scanning machines added a whole new dimension of confusion as lines actually criss-crossed over each other and you had to backtrack back into the crowd once your passport had been read.

Then at the pathetic little u-shaped taxi area at terminal E - the one that's so small it only allows for about 6 taxis at a time - well, let's just say that was another shitshow. Some British guy started screaming at the traffic director because of her inability to keep the queue moving - and I don't blame him.

Who can blame people for wanting to avoid this with Uber?!!

And what if we hosted the Olympics? How embarrassing for people coming here from other cities to see this pathetic, poorly organized attempt at transportation - minus the public transportation!

I felt so sorry for anyone traveling to the US for the first time that evening - can you imagine what their first impression of America must have been?

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This is where we're supposed

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This is where we're supposed to take Trump seriously but not literally - "our airports are 3rd-world".

They're not, it's a dramatic exaggeration. But they surely lag the standards set by European airports.

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Another option:

Take any one of the courtesy shuttles that endlessly loop the terminals. While on your way to that particular drop point (be it a car rental company or a local hotel), arrange your "not within Logan" Uber or Lyft to meet you there. They may also be able to pick up at the Blue Line station, if the Massport shuttle bus is running. I haven't verified this and I dont know what time the shuttle stops prior to the MBTA closing.

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The Massport shuttle runs 24

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The Massport shuttle runs 24 hours. It's also the Rental Car Center shuttle.

You probably can't get an Uber or Lyft at the RCC, because it's in airport land.

I'm not sure about the Blue Line station. Though there is a path out to the real world, but it might not be open after the last outbound train passes through.

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You can pick up uber/lyft at

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You can pick up uber/lyft at rental car center, its out of the zone massport created for whatever reason. A lyft driver dropping me off at the airport told me I could, and its worked, no problem. Also don't have to pay the $3.50 massport fee imposed on people.

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Almost Felt Sorry for the guy

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..until I saw that his Twitter page describes him as a Yankee Fan in Boston.

But seriously, he's right. This is why the taxis and unions are against Uber--because Uber causes them to compete.

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Lift Uber/Lyft ban when T isn't running

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Since the taxi business seems immune to improving its service, at least lift the ban when the T isn't running. What do they expect people to do? Maybe they can allow people to hitchhike outside the terminals.

Curious, what is involved in registering a car as livery? Can Massport issue its own permits?

When the T is running, I take the Silver Line to South Station and get an Uber from there.

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Southwest International Airport

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in Ft Myers does not have this problem. Plenty of parking for your vehicle there. Park your car, fly around he world, fly back hop n your car and drive home. No relying on other people to get you home.

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True, but ...

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Then you have to live in Ft. Myers, FL.

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My girlfriend and I went to

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My girlfriend and I went to Sarasota over Christmas. Florida is great to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. The coast is terrific(we spent a lot of time on Siesta Key) but once you go a mile or two inland, it's strip malls, trailer parks, assorted mysterious buildings and mind-numbing eight-lane boulevards. Lots of sketchy looking people.

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One problem

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Many of the people in this line either do not own a car or are coming from out of town.

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Did he try to call an uber?

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I've followed these instructions (https://www.uber.com/airports/bos/) and have gotten UberX to come pick me up in the limo section without issue. The last time I did this was October so I'm not sure if anything g has changed in the past two months.

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I traveled 2x in November and

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I traveled 2x in November and 1x in December and not once could I get an UberX at Logan on my return. I could see the cars circling outside though... one time the app let me request a car but the request just sat there for 3 minutes at which point I gave up. Had to get the black car all times.

Wonder if it was just that busy on a Friday night or it really doesn't work anymore?

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Never available in my experience

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I traveled twice in Oct, twice again in November and again in the wee hours this Monday (acc. to my post below, I got out at 12:30AM) and UberX was never available regardless of the instruction page's claims. To add insult to injury, once I was on my cab and about to take the Callahan to Storrow, I checked the Uber app just to be sure. There were at least three Uber cars between Maverick and Logan, and they drove in circles for about five minutes.

(It doesn't help that the app doesn't update its location as accurately as Google Maps or the phone's own weather service --for the half hour I waited for my luggage, it insisted I was still at the Houston airport. But even manually setting my pick-up to Logan showed no cars around.)

It'd probably work out with a scheduled ride, but unless you give yourself ample margin, you can never really account for flight or baggage delays.

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This is why Silver Line SL1 should run 24/7

Even if no other transit is running by the time you get to South Station, that's a much better place to be than the airport. It could drop to half-hour frequency in the wee hours.

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That photo is really bizarre

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I got into Logan on a flight from Houston at 11:58 PM, Jan 1st, with four other flights ahead of us (the baggage claim belts were hellish). But even though I had to wait for my luggage for nearly half an hour, when I walked the exact same line as the photo I was the only one there, and all the taxi spots were full and waiting for fares. I even checked my watch to see that it was already 12:30 AM on Jan 2nd because I wanted to confirm what time I'd get home.

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Logan Express Bus

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Massport has a Logan Express Bus that goes to Copley.

You know, there are positives for Ground Transportation at Logan. I get that the time of day in the above scenario precludes the use of the Silver Line to the Red Line and South Station, but don't forget that is a free transfer to the Red Line. So people get a free ride on the T when leaving Logan - the chance to encourage Public Transportation.

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The last Logan Express to Back Bay

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currently leaves the airport at 10pm.

The fare also increased in 2016 to $7.50 each way, or $3 with a valid Charlie Card (credit/debit card only.)

The service is nice, but not as inexpensive as it once was (what is?).

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Ah

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That sucks. Maybe we can get them to run later when they have multiple flights coming in at the later hour(s).

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FASTEN

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Fasten will pick up from Logan. A god send really. And cheaper than a cab.

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